Perhaps it’s just me, but the only way I could ever have a stress-free morning routine is by not having any other creature depend on me. Bacon, eggs, strong coffee, and the newspaper would be just perfect, but that is now just wishful thinking. Instead, if you are like me, mornings can be some new kind of hell.
Here are a few tips that have helped ease my pain.
It feels ridiculous to write the word “routine” as we all have some vague plan, whether we recognize it or not, but this doesn’t always work.
Why not try a visual routine board where you have pictures of what has to happen each morning and in what order? As the kids grow older, it becomes a written list. This saves me from having to repeat myself; instead, I just direct them to the list. It gives them a clear focus. If you want to get really serious, use a timer for each child and get them to record their time. Most kids love a bit of competition, even if it is to beat their own time.
I do wonder how kids can get dressed for a day at an adventure park in like 3 seconds flat, but after half an hour of nagging, they still can’t get out of their pajamas on school days! I’m not an organized mama who lays clothes out each night. While I have the best intentions, I know my limitations. I can, however, manage to organize one drawer reserved for school clothes in each of my kids’ rooms. While this sounds ridiculous, it actually works as ANYTHING to do with school clothes gets thrown in there. If you want to take it further and have the space, you can follow the example of a friend of mine: she has dedicated a whole room to school stuff to save her time and more importantly, her sanity!
Getting kids out the door on time is stressful. I have a big clock that is very visible. Underneath is a picture of the clock face showing the time that you need to leave the house. This keeps them on time while reinforcing the concept of time. As my kids grew older, the game plan needed to change.
Getting my daughter out of the house on time was impossible. After trying threats, I very calmly told her one day that we were leaving at a given time, and if she wasn’t ready, we were going without her. The look on her face was priceless when I stuck to my guns and left without her. I wasn’t working that day, so I was able to drop off my son and go back to discuss with her the importance of sticking to deadlines. Once calm was restored, I took her to school, and believe me, it did not happen again. It should be noted that she was of an age where I could safely leave her.
There are no magic fixes for the dreaded morning hour, but a plan and a bit of structure can hustle things along and at least keep your sanity somewhat intact.